The students in our ITWorks Delaware class are at the halfway point of the Fall 2016 session! Certification exams are right around the corner (tomorrow!) and the class is excitedly preparing for the internships. Mark Roe has been involved in the IT field for quite some time, but did not have the experience, connections, or certifications to back up his passion. We sat down to check-in about his experience – read on to learn more!
ITWorks: What had you been doing prior to starting ITWorks in regards to work and/or school?
Mark: My interest in technology started out because my family didn’t have a lot of money growing up. When we got a computer that ended up breaking, there wasn’t any means to fix it or take it anywhere. So I started looking up how to fix them, and realized that I loved it. As I got older, I became friends with a lot of PC gamers who were really interested in building their own computers which catapulted me even further into my passion for technology. After graduating high school, I didn’t really have any desire to pursue college. Instead, I decided to manage my own break/fix business mostly through Craigslist advertising but I was jumping from job to job. Most recently, I was working at Samsung but it wasn’t really my passion.
ITW: How did you hear about the ITWorks program? What made you decide to apply?
M: When I was working at Samsung, a rep from another company and I were having a conversation. I told him where my technology interests started, and he mentioned this ITWorks program in which he was currently enrolled. At that point, I knew I wanted to be in the technology field but I didn’t know how to get there. I had applied to all types of entry-level positions but was always met with one of two answers; either, I didn’t have the experience or I needed to be A+ certified. So when I looked up more about it and realized it would give me both of those things, and that it was free, it seemed like the perfect way to get my foot in the door.
ITW: You’re about halfway through the program at this point. What has been the most challenging part of the classroom experience thus far? What about the most rewarding part?
M: Honestly, the most challenging thing for me has nothing to do with the class; it’s really just my own life. Juggling my job with being in class every day is really tough, but I know it will be worth it in the end. Especially to walk away with the connections that I’ve made – that’s probably the most rewarding; from my peers in the classroom to the ITWorks staff to all of the volunteers. It’s incredibly satisfying to meet other people who have the same interests and goals that I do. I don’t feel like I’m the only one anymore.
ITW: We focus on professional development each week with our Friday Sessions. What have you liked most about these sessions?
M: Recently we had a session with Tapp Network at The Mill in the Nemours Building. I have never set foot in a corporate building prior to starting ITWorks, and to me – that location was what I had always envisioned as a business environment. Seeing it all come together in one location was really inspiring for me, because that’s where I can see myself in a few years.
ITW: What are you excited about during the internship? Is there a specific experience you are hoping to walk away with?
M: I think what I want the most is to experience technology on a different level than what I’m used to. I’m skilled with home and personal networks; but to be able to support a whole team or office or building – that’s going to be a whole new experience. And I can’t wait to have it!
ITW: Graduation is just a few short weeks away. Do you have any expectations on how the job search process will be?
M: I think the job search process is going to be a complete 180 from what I’ve experienced before. I know that I’m going to be offered more positions that I can even say yes to. In fact – I’m already starting to get some! People from WSFS, Wells Fargo, Microsoft, and Siemens have all contacted me regarding the same type of positions that I was applying for previously. It’s amazing how much can change over 16 weeks.
ITW: What has been/will be the impact of ITWorks in your life?
M: It’s been the best thing that has happened to me in a really long time. It has opened so many doors for me that I didn’t think I would be able to open on my own. I have a hard time focusing my goals, so having this structured environment has helped me plan and map my career so much more than what I could have done myself.
ITW: What are your hopes for the future of ITWorks in Delaware?
M: I would love to see bigger classes. I would love to see the ITWorks name out there. If the former student hadn’t walked into my life that day, I would have never even known this program existed. People need to know that this program is out there.
ITW: Do you think you’ll want to stay involved with ITWorks after you graduate?
M: Absolutely! I just want to be able to give back what was given to me. I would love to be able to show future students that this is how you take control of your life – its programs like this.
ITWorks student success is dependent on the end-of-session internships, which provide professional and hands-on experience. Support ITWorks by hosting a Comp TIA A+ certified intern at your organization: